I couple years ago I built the pvc growlight stand from some instructions I had gotten here. I can't seem to find the post though, and now I have a friend that wants to build one. Does anyone have the plans?
I cut the uprights at 20 inches so the shelves would be taller and I had some pipe left so I cut four 15 inch uprights for an extra top level and on each side on top I used four elbows and 1 cross piece so each top side is like a upside down U.looks more finished and I have another level to hang 'stuff' from ...LOL
...This was fun to make and I took that stupid cutter back $$ because my hacksaw cuts through the stuff like butter.
...So I ended up with a 7'6" tall overall and top shelf is 6'3"
Hmmm, now what can I do ???
I know...BYe =)
... and welcome to the best bunch of plant addicts around =)
...You need 2 four foot shop lights with chains so you can adjust the height as the plants grow.
Don't waste money on 'Grow Lights' Just use 1 cool florescent tube and 1 warm tube in each fixture. Change after 2 years because they loose strength.
...Keep lights close to plants and raise the light as they grow.
I went in search of PVC pipes to build my frame.Here in England they are sooo expensive it would cost around£100 ( around$150) only for the PVC. So i visited some hardware shops where i found a wire mesh shelving unit on a sale. As it is wire mesh i can hang my lamps through it with chains and the ventilation is good. It has 5 shelves and fits my bedroom window like a glove.
When everything is ready I will be posting some photos.
Anna07 I built mine from angle iron because I have a hang up about building things to last it was cheap to build but will last a hundred or so years. Took most of a saturday to build and paint.
A friend who is an electrican gave me three four tube four foot lights for it and I added grow mats with thermo stats to two of the shelves. I can start eight flats at once with the third shelf being used as a stopping point for seedlings before I put them on the table. I am thinking of adding another mat to increase my starting flats to twelve
Don't know anything about pounds except for how those got on my tummy but mine ended up costing about $225.00 and is a neat addition in my G.H.Regards Ernie
Anna, my new grow mat has a terrible odor. I'm hoping it will eventually burn off, but I had to put it in a separate room in the house, LOL. (I only used it about 10 days this fall, and won't use it again until late winter to start seeds.)
Anna07 I got mine from Charleys Greenhouse supply and it is not smelly. You could make one with some things on the market but in the long run it's probably best to just buy one and get a thermostat to run it. Most cheap mats work but you can't control the heat. It is usually regulated at about 20 degrees higher than ambient temprature. If it is 70 in your house it will be 90 in your seed flat.
There are other ways to germinate seeds and several of those are given in one of these threads maybe some one better at cruiseing the threads will come on and direct you there.Ernie
Onpage 3 of the propagation forum there is a thread called Deno propagation. The method is explained there. It consists of germinating seeds in wet tissue paper and then planting them after germination.
do you use your plant stand and lights all year round? Do you use your basement to grow plants all year round as well?
I am curious to know about the american way of growing plants indoors. Here in england it is not common to find people using lights and indoor rooms to grow.
I use mine almost year around. I have the growlight stand in the basement and throughout the winter I keep some plants down there to keep them growing rather than going dormant. In the spring I start seeds down there also, and then in the late spring everything goes outside.
I would guess that I don't use the growlights June, July and August. By September it's getting cool enough here that some things start to come inside again.
Just a heads up here...
... I also bought 6 of the HD fixtures for around 7$ each. I returned them all and upgraded to $12 fixtures as I felt the ones I had did not do the job.
...On the cheaper lights the wing-like reflector shades are missing...As you stand to the side you should not be able to see the actual bulb... If you can see it the light is not directed down wards so you are loosing, I would guess , half of the benefit of burning your electricity.
... It is even uncomfortable to look toward the light stand because of the brightness emitted into the room...Instead of being directed down wards to your seedlings...
...Problem solved (-;
Shirley >^..^< SB
Edited...More power to you if you can make your own reflectors...Pun intended heheheh ;~P
Scooter is right about the reflectors I think the loss is greater than 50 percent though but you could make reflectors to help out.
I made mine out of used lights from the ceiling they have prisim reflectors that direct the light st down these can be seen in most office buildings and have those little squares showing. Are you near a building recycle store? good source. Ernie
These do have "wings" on them, and I think Ernie is right, if these wings aren't big enough I'll make reflectors rather than spend 12.00 more on the one that has the bigger wings. I could buy 6 of the 7 dollar lights and fashion my own reflectors, or just 2 of the 20 dollar lights.
My Home Depot didn't have another option either, it was either the 7 dollar one or the 20 dollar one. I just couldn't justify 4 of the 20 dollar ones.
My Daughters went to the UC Game this evening, and my Oldest son had a Wrestling Match to attend, Hubby is sick, so my 6 year old and I made this our "project" for this evening. He had great fun helping me Measure, mark and cut the PVC. At one point I was in here on the phone, and he came in and said, "Mom, here is a 20 incher" He had measured and marked it all by himself.
I like those PVC racheting "Scissors" I know a hack saw or a jig saw would have worked, but I doubt if I could have cut it straight, so it was better for me to buy the Scissors.
But, anyway... it just didn't seem "sturdy" to me, so I tore it down, and now I need some more T fittings, but I ended up putting 4 15 inch crossbeams on each shelf instead of the 2 the plans called for, and 4 of my T's were threaded inside, so I was short on the top shelf anyway.
I also want to use Scooter's idea of putting casters on the bottom of it. But, hopefully tomorrow, I can at least get some seeds under there.
Melissa ^5 bravo sometimes you just need to as granpa used to say go ahead on er and never hollar whoa in a tight spot.
I think the added bars is just what I would have done had I not used steel to build mine with.
Don't know how shoe put his casters on but there are fittings sold that make that an easy task. I think they are called clamp fittings or snap fittings. They are made by the same people who make the clamp clips for holding plastic on to pvc for little row protectors. Well done Ernie
And, I have lights!
At least on one shelf... I'm going to have to do some tweaking yet after I get some more T's, and find something, (thinking foil baking pans) to put my seed cups in. But overall, I'm really happy with it, and will be even happier if I start seeing signs of life under them there lights!
Somebody asked about support on the shelving. I think the best bet, but certainly not inexpensive, would be try to find some fiberglass trays, you can check restaurant and food supply places, I think they are called "market trays", they have a lip on them so they would hold a small amount of water in case water dripped out of your flats.
Even adding those, this still would end up cheaper than commercially available light carts. Do you know how much I spent on a 3 light floracart years ago to grow african violets? It was a bunch!
I've found that the plastic seedling trays aren't rigid enough to use without some sort of shelving for support. They buckle if there's too much weight in them. I wrapped hardware cloth around my shelves and it works pretty good.
Does anyone know if a waterbed heater could be used as a heat mat? This was given to me and it looks just like a heat mat for plants...with a thermostat and everything...any reason why this would'nt work?
OK,I broke down and made one...I think I went a little nuts...I said to myself if everyone felt 14 inches is too short than I'll go 24 inches so I can have brug cuttings and other stuff on there...not just seedlings...
I was worried about the stability ,yet I want to be able to take it apart,so today I'm gunna cement the sections together and where the conectors meet the sides I will not cement.I will drill screws into them on the top and the bottom.Also ,its so tall I am woried it will be top heavey so I may somehow attach it to the wall.Its going in my sons bedroom since he's staying in Hawaii...
I am sure you all have COSTCO all over your country too. I had made wood units, bought pvc units, used used wire shelving but the heavy duty 5 shelf wire rack that costco sells for $80 canadian is the best yet. It is exactly four feet so my bulbs don't hang out or not cover everything; the castors are great easily moved, the shelves are very adjustable and comes apart easily for storage for the next growing season. Can do 20 flats on one unit which with plugs gives me between 600 and 1400 seedlings on one unit. Now the problem is finding 4 times that space for the transplanted babies.
Jagonjune sounds like the six shelf pair I got from costco for $69. They are pretty neat because they can be put up as one six foot high or two three foot ones. They came with eight casters and all the cute little end plugs to seal the open uprights and to make them less apt to cut you from the raw edge.
As to the space it takes to move the started plants I am lucky green house is 16 x 32 no problem for me.
For 69 bucks I think its a better deal than making one out of pvc. Each shelf is rated to hold 600 lbs. Ernie
Scooter the things are relly pretty heavy so shipping would not work for you.
Some one posted they saw them at walmart but don't know if they are the same.
You could be just like me I just drove 170 miles round trip four hours total to get some plastic and the place wouldn't take charge or debit cards. the plastic was $85 and I had $87 but not enough for the tax. I don't carry a check book so the trip was all for naught. So I guess the moral is be prepared lol. Ernie
Don't know if this is the same as Costco, etc., but Sam's Club sells Gorilla Racks and they are GREAT! The very heavy duty ones are around $80. They are 6' long. Menard's sells them too but are much higher. The heavy duty are 4' wide and 6 shelves high but you can break them down and make like a workbench 8 feet long and 3 shelves each. We have 3 in my sewing room, and 3 in the storeroom. They are GREAT! I think I will have to rig one up for lights. Think DH will notice? :) (What a bummer, Ernie!)
eweed - would the ones you got have an edge on them with a zigzag pattern on the edge? They have some of them at Sam's too and maybe at Wallyworld too, I don't know. I've seen that kind as Baker's racks too around here.
kooger, my Menard's has the same unit you are talking about -and- you can buy them one piece at a time and make your own configuration. A 2ft. x 4 ft. shelf is $12.00
But I think I have plenty 'for now'.
* mad laugh *
Ok, I will check them out better. I like the wheels idea. The local stop-and-rob here uses them for their condiment stand. FYI: C-stores are known as stop-and-robs in the family, courtesy of my uncle, the cop! Small wayside diners are choke-and-pukes! There's your Sat. eve. chuckle!! hee hee
Ernie it not just your beautifully sized green house that saves you - its that zone number next to your abode. Half of the things I start you could leave in the ground over the winter. Oh well, zone envy will not get it any warmer any earlier.
Whelp...my 2 PVC stands cost $69.28 for both and they will hold 20 trays plus 6 hanging plants on each. Altho I must admit yours are more aesthetically pleasing =)
...It is doubtful if I will put trays on the tippy-top shelf, this area will be for my taller plants.
The other shelves all have room for 20" tall plants.
...I really can hardly wait to get them out into the front porch, if it ever warms up...dang it's been a cold week !
I got one of those chrome wire stands from Sam's Club. I got their display unit because apparently they didn't have any more. The shelves are 4' x 18" deep and the thing stands 76" tall because it has 3" casters which make it easy to roll around, but 4 inches taller. It's in the kitchen/dining area and my wife has appropriated one of the shelves for our microwave. I guess we will put a toaster oven there too.
Since this shelf unit is in a relatively warm living area (68F night to 72F day) it really is too warm for sustained seedling growth. But it is a good place to start seedlings and I have a freshly planted tray of onion seeds there now. Hopefully they will germinate soon. I have only one fluorescent fixture mounted over them at the moment, but I intend to mount three 6-inch wide fixtures per 18-inch shelf, with no open space between the fixtures. I have to cut notches in the outside metal relectors to allow them to fit between the metal support colums.
The open wire shelves are handy for hanging fluorescent fixtures on. You can attach the chains anywhere. Incidentally, I am using those Home Depot 32-watt 4-foot T8 shoplights you mentioned in an earlier message in this thread. Surprisingly, I believe 32-watt T8s are actually brighter than 40-watt T12s. Check it out. The T8s are more efficient. And the bulbs are economical. I got a box of ten Philips cool white T8s for $19.99 at Home Depot. All told, I have bought 28 of the Home Depot fixtures, because I have some 4' x 2' chrome wire shelves coming from Northern Tool and I plan to populate each tray of it with 4 of the Home Depot fixtures. And I am overdriving the T8s to make them 70% brighter than their already bright normal level. It takes two normal fixtures to make one overdriven fixture, hence my large number of Home Depot fixtures.
The Northern Tool shelves are similar to the Sam's Club shelves except they have only four shelves and the casters are a larger 5-inch size for heavier duty. Oh, and the unit costs $129.99. I will put the 48"x24" shelving unit in our breezeway where we can maintain a lower temperature in the range of 50F to 65F, which should produce stockier transplants. As a bit of serendipity, the fluorescent tubes may also be a little brighter in this ambient temperature range. Our breezeway, though enclosed, is currently unheated and uninsulated and it runs about 32F in this cold Maine winter, so we will add some insulation and some kind of thermostatically controlled electric heater to keep its night temperature from falling below 50F. The numerous fluorescent fixtures will provide a significant heat source when their timers have them on.
Jagonjune nothing can save me from me.The green house is way to small. This little program is a perfect example of the eyes being bigger than the belly so to speak.Funny thing is if my belly was any bigger I would have to have my bibbs made by Omar the tent maker.
As for zone envy I would kill for yours or at least for lots of the things you enjoy. Hunting, fishing, and a reduced population for starters. The thrill of turning two or three high energy English setters loose on a frosty clear morning in the sound of silence is something I will never experience again. Now I look at the pictures of my sons little trips to Montanana, South Dakota, and even Eastern Washington and drool. So I guess we all have zone envy or address envy.
Everyone about screwing pvc joints to keep them from spreading. This is not a fundamently sound practice. While some have stated that they do so and seem to be happy with the results so far.
I myself would not do it. Screwing pvc compromises the strenght of the material. Localized fasteners reduce the integrity of the material. Part of the beauty of pvc is its ability to expand and contract with heat change allowing it to remain strong.. If you must screw the stuff at least use a pilot drill first. A better way would be drill it and pin the joint with a cotter pin putting a little tape over the bent ends to prevent you from being scratched from the sharp ends or by using very small machine screws with nuts size 8 would do nicely.
As far as that goes white pvc electrical tape wrapped neatly around each joint should work as well as any thing unless you want to pick the thing up and move it while it is loaded.Ernie
... I was kinda thinking of the PVC connectors working on what I would call a gradual compression principle. So wouldn't inserting a screw compromise this? Huh?...lol
Once again folks..."I" know what "I" mean...
Scooter Yes any screw be it screw in or thru bolted will compromise,Any deviation from glue period will sacrafice some part of the design principals of pvc. Some changes more than others can be a trade off. Is the risk of cracking worth what you are trying to do?. Each has to figure that out for themselves.
Form follows function was the first rule of design I ever learned in my work and at home. Hey there are lots of ways to do most every thing and my way may be right for me but wrong for you. If what a person builds ends with the builder being happy with it then I say ok. Ernie
Maine Man What's overdriving? (at least as relates to lights)
eweed from the stuff on this thread it sounds like we could use one or two of you handy times up here on occasion so if you ever want empty unpopulated experiences again...
Overdriving a 2-bulb fluorescent fixture consists of rewiring the 2-bulb ballast to drive a single bulb and adding another rewired ballast to drive the other bulb. Each ballast is driving only one-half as many bulbs as it was designed for, so it is "loafing". But the bulbs get more current and hence burn about 70% brighter.
You can also overdrive a 4-bulb fixture by reconnecting the 4-bulb ballast to only two bulbs and bringing in another 4-bulb ballast for the remaining two bulbs. Once again, the ballasts "loaf" but the bulbs burn brighter.
Not all fluorescent light ballasts are overdrivable. First of all, none of the magnetic ballasts can be overdriven. All of the older fluorescent fixtures used magnetic ballasts and you are probably used to hearing them hum.
Many newer fluorescent fixtures use electronic ballasts. They have a lot of advantages, including that they are quiet. But only some of the newer electronic ballasts can be overdriven. It depends on the wires that come from them.
Overdriving does shorten your bulb life, but I think it is worth it to get more light on my plants. Besides, my Philips 48-inch T8 bulbs have a rated life of 20,000 hours (if my math is right, that would be 2.6 years of continuous operation.)
Since it is recommended to change a fluorescent bulb after one year of continuous operation because their phosphors decline in efficiency, and since I won't be burning the bulbs 24 hours a day or all 365 days of the year, I think overdriving makes sense for my plant starting operation. I hope to get at least two seasons out of my overdriven bulbs. I want to get as much affordable light as possible on my seedlings, and this seems the best way to go for me. There are, of course, high tech expensive lights that are much brighter.
Examples of 2-bulb Rapid Start ballasts that can be overdriven are the Sunpark SL-15 (the ones I am using), the Advance REL-2S40-SC, Advance REL-2S40-RH-TP, GE B232R120HP, and Sylvania QTP 2x32T8/120 RSN-D.
Examples of 2-bulb Instant Start ballasts that can be overdriven are the Advance REL-2P32-SC, GE B232I120RH, Sylvania QT 2x32/120 IS-SC, and the Sylvania QTP 2x32T8/120 ISN-D.
There is a lot of information on the Internet about overdriving fluorescent fixtures. Aquarium hobbyists have been doing it for many years to get more light on their aquarium plants (and fish). Some have even done 4X overdriving, although that is not a good idea for plant growing. The regular 2X overdriving that I am doing is better suited for growing plants.
Burton makes perfect sense to me. Much cheaper than buying or converting to HO fluorescent.I have some of each type of ballast and they are cheap and easy to replace.Ernie
Jargonejune and is there a pretter sight than a thousand ducks on their final approach to a parrie pond at sunset?
My great American dream is quite different than most.In another time my nick name could be outback. Ernie
Ranks right up there with the return of the snow geese in the spring or the white swans or a thousand other views on the prairies in almost any weather except a blizzard but maybe that is the price we have to pay
opps jagonjune seems I snuck in an extra R and an extra E in your name sorry. Thats the problem two finger typers have can't see the big picture.
Yes for the Blizzard but think of the solitude they bring with them. Yes its a pain to feed live stock but how fun to listen to the wind as it pushes the snow over the landscape changing it every few minutes washing it clean of the dirt and grime of real life.
Yep you called it right we pay a price and its true no pain no gain. Ernie
Thanks for that good information on the different sources for shelves, and on overdriving the bulbs.
My experience is that ample light and separation of the plants, so their leaves don't overlap (causing them to "stretch" their stems looking for light) assure good stems, even in temperatures of 68-72 degrees.
You might use the commercial greenhouses as an example. I have grown some wonderfully stocky plants in commercial greenhouse conditions of 70-80+ degrees.
again in my experience, the temperatures below 65 degrees are not very conducive for many vegetable plants to get started, and I'd rather have them warmer than that, if possible.
"My experience is that ample light and separation of the plants, so their leaves don't overlap (causing them to "stretch" their stems looking for light) assure good stems, even in temperatures of 68-72 degrees."
Thanks for that tip. I will try that extra-space technique to see if our kitchen/dining area plant shelves can succeed beyond the germinating stage. We will need the extra growing space on the Sam's Club shelves anyway, so you have given me hope that our warmer living space can serve to produce healthy transplants.
We will still continue with the breezeway project, because it is about the only available space for our on-order 24" x 48" shelving unit.
Last year, with much weaker fluorescent fixtures from Wal-Mart, we had lots of problems with spindly plants.
If you want to try overdriving fluorescent fixtures, I can provide a URL to detailed information.
There is a forum on the Garden Web called "Growing Under Lights" and in it there is a long message thread entitled, "I have found the BEST cheap fluorescent ballast/fixture" posted by Zink, zone 6a, on Wed, Nov 26, 03 at 12:29. Much of the basic information was included in the original post, but much clarification, additional information, photos, and diagrams were added by Zink, Lightt, and others in subsequent messages. I learned a lot from this message thread and said as much in a post there.
Hopefully you can access the thread. I am a member of the Garden Web (also under the name MaineMan) and membership there is free, but I think non-members can read the threads. Let me know if you can read this thread:
Poppysue: Thanks for the idea! I "built" one today that holds one 48" double shop fixture. Its shaped like the one in your link, just out of pvc. Its too big to use as a tabletop unti, but functional. Next I'll tackle the shelving unit. Thanks to you all for your great ideas and input!
There is no fire hazard for me because I am careful to do good electrical work, using the appropriate procedures, tools and materials. However, there would be a fire hazard or electrical hazard for anyone who did a bad job of rewiring the fixture.
As far as the bulbs themselves running warmer, they aren't even close to a fire hazard. Based on the information given by Scottplumerias 5KC on Tue, Jan 20, 04 at 15:38 in the referenced Garden Web message thread, in regular fixtures the T8 bulbs warm to about 100F. When 2X overdriven they are about 120F. Scott made those measurements with his infrared pyrometer. I don't have one. (sob)
In my experience, the overdriven bulbs are noticeably warmer, but not so hot that you can't remove the bulb with your bare hands. Definitely not a fire hazard. And the overdriving ballasts themselves actually run cooler, because they are driving a smaller load.
Ernie, I found the plans I mentioned for the re-enforced PVC.
Sheesch ! No wonder...
...They used 1" PVC with 3/4" conduit inside. I guess it could be OK for a temp GH or seedhouse but even so I think their idea is just too lightweight =)
I'm wondering after the combined cost of materials, why not go 1 1/2" from the git-go?
Scooterbug didnt get to the measuring today but I see you found the conduit to be the reinforcer.
I have 12 x 48 hoop style high tunnel made of 1 inch pvc with a i inch ridge poleI used no reinforcing and no purlins. This is surely too light for your snow loads . You need a stringer set on post under your ridge and probably one more on each side. Yes bigger for permanate type and you have the option of schedual 80 which has a much thicker wall thickness it is grey in color vs white for schedual 40.
eweed - The Red Green show is on PBS (public TV). They are the duct tape kings! (originate in Canada) I love their closing line "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!"
... I think while I am hoarding cast off windows and patio doors to build my GH, I have a design in mind that I am going to make a prototype, out of Sch 40 just to see if it will fly...OOOpppsie! ...wrong word...see if it will stand. There that's better *smile*
I think the bowed shelving is caused by the extra joints added to the shelves, more cuts made it weaker. Also it should be somewhere in the directions to 'whack a good one' with a rubber mallet to really seat 'each' compression fit tee-joint good and solid.
If you can't find the PBS listing and you have some time between your handy man projects rent "Red Green the Movie" it cracks me up what these guys can do with duct tape. Sort of a modern day 3 (but two or many) stooges.
Melissa - So how are the seed babies? I have a feeling that most of them will make it. Let us know.
I have been enjoying the seedling stand discussion, and it finally hit me yesterday... I kept thinking of "heat tape", which can be used to wrap pipes to prevent freezing. Then I remembered that when I raised and bred snakes (my apology to those who shudder, but it was a great hobby!) I had (and still do in storage) a bookcase like "rack" into which the tupperware boxes slid that held my lovelies. It had grooves in the shelves, weaving from one shelf level to the next, in which the tape lay. The tape was held in place at corners by plastic-headed pins, and the tape controlled by thermostat.
Problem is, no room for lights to be added, so I can't use the old racks. But that commoner heat pipe tape could be run from end to end on the PVC shelves. What do y'all think?
Well, the PVC project would be a great thing to do with my kids. Meanwhile, we don't have a costco here, but it is on my Sam's Club list. I bought a light from Indoor Gardening Supplies, and have it set up. I have to go look again, but I don't think it is even like pictured. If i am not satisfied, I will post here again, and in the watchdog. Thanks everyone for all the great tips, I have Spring Fever!
FYou know, since this thread is alive again, I gotta say something about flurorescents. They don't work for me. I made the plant stand last winter, so I am in the second year of growing things under lights - cuttings and seedlings. the combination of the 2 types of bulbs - can't remember the usually recommended pair - just doesn't work well. Plants do better on my window sill, even in dim conditions. Anybody have any ideas?
Peter are your seedlings within two to four inches if not you are to far away. I use four tubes in each shelf of mine alternating cool white bulbs for the blue side of the light spectrum best for vegatative growth and warm white bulbs to provide the red light part that is best for flowering and fruiting.I keep my starts very close to the bulbs and have good results. As we speak I have two flats of onion starts simmering away and they will stay there till mid febuary when I will harden them a bit and plant them out. Each year my plant stand is nursery to hundreds of seedlings. Ernie
Right now, I have African vilets under the combination of cool and warm lights. They are about 3' from the plants. The leaves are bunching up, not like leaves that are missing light and reach up but in a rounder cluster with slight cupping of the leaves. They are exposed about 12 hrs. a day. Last year, seedlings got leggy and lacked stem vigor. It may be my fertiliaation program that is to blame. I'll be starting some seed soon; we'll see. I am going to go to a higjh phosphorus, low nitrogen liquid feed.
pdkrones, I'm not an expert (this is my first winter using lights,) but I think 3' is way too far from plants or seedlings. Scooterbug is right, the lights need to be 2 or 3 inches from your plants/seedlings. I have read no farther than 6", but nevertheless, a lot closer than 3'.
I have (4) 4' florescent lights, all with just plain ol' lights (no mixture of warm/cool) with tropicals and succulents growing under them for the winter. They are all doing amazingly well. But the light fixtures are not more than 6" from any plant. I wasn't feeding, at all, but when all the plants starting getting full and putting on growth I added some Osmocote, just in case they needed it.
I built the pvc plant stand but I made a few alterations. In the center of the horizontal pipes instead of putting a t connector, I put a + connector and put vertical pvc pipes to support the shelves to each layer. I also put the shelving on a piece of plywood with rollers on it so I could move it in and out of my garage during warmer days and move it back in at night when it's too cool out. Just make sure you glue the horizontal pipes so they don't pull apart while moving. I also put the white light weight shade cover (or bug cover) on it so the sun wouldn't burn the leaves and the wind wouldn't damage the leaves. I just held it on with the pinching clothes pins. Hope this helps. Happy planting.
OK, I made me one of these so I thought it was time give it another good bump! I also made the shelves 20" apart instead of 15" and I'm glad I did. I don't currently need all the space for starting things but I figure maybe in time ;) I need more strip lights!
I did also place an order with novosel for trays and things and I have to say, I expected the same quality as the Jiffy trays I would pick up at Walmart but they are much better quality IMO and I'm so glad I ordered some. And the inserts are super cheap and now I have a variety of sizes (some are deep!) and they separate out easily, love that.
Here's a picture of my weekend project. I'm not sure which thread I found the link to the diagram that I used to build this, but it's exactly what I was looking for. Total cost for materials at Lowe's was less than $65 and that includes two light fixtures and sun-stik bulbs (full spectrum). In case anyone else is interested, here's where you can find a copy of the materials list and diagram for putting it together. My son did the cutting and assembly for me. He has a PVC pipe cutter which really sped up the process ... he probably spent in total, maybe a couple of hours doing all of this. The gluing seemed to take longer than the cutting. The long vertical pieces are not glued so it can be broken down for easier storage.
I found a coleus on the 'I'm almost dead' shelf at Lowe's yesterday for 50 cents and am experimenting with rooting cuttings from it following tigerlily123's great instructions. Once I either finish killing the coleus or get some good results, I'll probably put this all away until around the end of January.
Melissa..this goes to show people that "You should never under estimate the power of a woman!" I'm so impressed that you made this by yourself, with help of son. Way to go! Pat yourself on the back. What do those racket scissors look like and how do they work? I would not be able to cut a straight line with or without a hack saw, believe me. You should see the cuts on my WS jugs and soda bottles made by box cutter. Good thing we aren't graded on cutting those!
Will the clear propagation dome be useful to use with the light right down close to it? I don't mean actually resting on it but maybe one inch away. I have not done this before, so have a lot to figure out. My thought was the propagation dome would be helpful indoors because our central heat creates a much drier environment than would ordinarily be in a greenhouse.
I love making stuff myself, and to be honest I did consider building plant stands out of PVC at one time, but decided against it because the smaller size pipe like 3/4 and 1" are just too flimsy for my liking. I use that stuff for air, water and filtration lines in our aquarium systems, and it just gives way to much for 'heavy' liner trays.
Also, the cost, as I see pointed out above is higher than just going to Costco and buying the chrome racks, which is what I ended up doing. Although if you don't have a costco near you, that isn't much help.
regarding lights, I bought the Home Depot shop lights that were 19.95. Virtually no reflector at all on them, but I haven't really noticed that as a problem. The space I'm using is well heated, and the lights are much higher above the trays than I have seen depicted here. I have a full spread of light, and I haven't noticed any problems with any of the species I'm propagating.